Via Grammarly : How to Collaborate Effectively at Work (and Why You Should Care)
“No man is an island,” the English poet John Donne once wrote. Nearly 400 years later, if you’re into creative, ambitious work, that sentiment is truer than ever—collaboration is often essential.
It also might not feel like your strong suit. Maybe you feel weird without your headphones in and would much rather work alone. But even then, chances are your efforts are part of a greater whole that hinges on your abilities as a collaborator to succeed—so you might as well speak up.
It’s an area where we can all stand to improve, and Grammarly has you covered. Here are six tips to help you become a better collaborator.
What is collaboration, anyway?
Working in collaboration means everyone can contribute ideas—so it’s different from the kind of teamwork where a group marches in unified lockstep to realize one person’s plan or goal. Collaborating means hearing people out, melding different ideas together, and building toward a shared objective.
Put another way, if you’re not steadily communicating about what you’re trying to accomplish and how best to go about it, you’re not really collaborating.
Part of communicating is listening and understanding.
Collaboration doesn’t work if only one person does all the talking. Fostering a collaborative space means making room for other people to share their ideas—even the shy ones. (That said, making a point of giving a quiet person the floor doesn’t help much if they feel suddenly called on like a daydreamer who zoned out in algebra class.)
Part of getting people to open up and share valuable ideas is helping them feel like they’ll be heard. That means being patient and generous—a facilitator, not an autocrat.
Correct: That’s an interesting idea. How do you see it fitting into this project?
Incorrect: You already know that idea is unrealistic, so just hush.
Also, if you are one of the quieter ones present for a collaborative discussion, recognize that you’re in the room to participate, not just observe. That’s not always the case in life—and yes, people who think all meetings should be collaborative are insufferable—but in this case, it’s good to show you’re engaged by saying what you’re thinking.
Keep the conversation open ended.
One of the challenges of the collaborative process is getting past the blue sky stage where people throw out ideas, and onto distilling the results into an actionable plan with defined deliverables. When you’re trying to clarify what you’ll actually be doing, it helps to ask questions rather than issue decrees, like so:
Correct: What problem are we trying to solve?
Incorrect: Our next iteration just needs to look more like the competition’s.
Correct: What timeframe will it take to achieve meaningful progress?
Incorrect: I need this done and dusted before Thursday’s board meeting.
A useful strategy to get people on the same page is to try repeating their points back in your own words. This helps crystallize the takeaways and can reveal any discrepancies or misunderstandings that need to be addressed early on. It can also be worthwhile to capture key ideas on a whiteboard, sticky notes, or a shared screen.
Know when to ask for help—and be delicate when offering it.
One of the joys of being a collaborator is you don’t have to have all the answers. A truly collaborative endeavor is one where it’s okay to take risks—and to go to your colleagues when you need guidance. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it shows that you’re interested in getting better at something, have recognized someone else’s skill, and feel secure enough to take some time out for your edification.
Likewise, you want other people to feel at ease getting help from you, not forced, as in this example:
Incorrect: You’re doing it wrong. Here, let me show you how an adult does it.
Correct: I noticed you’ve been working on that part for a while. Let me know if I can help out, okay?
Don’t make your collaboration messier than necessary.
Over the course of your project, you and your collaborators will likely find things to disagree about. It’s worth remembering there’s value in drawing from perspectives—even if only a fraction of the insights this process yields will be perfect.
For the rest, be diplomatic. Know when to hold your tongue. Keep in mind that kindness, while not always effortless, is rarely a waste of energy.
At some point, someone will probably have to say “no,” or at least “not right now.” And someone else will have to live with that. This is part of what separates a collaborative process that sets and achieves its goals from an endless digression on things people wish would happen at some point. In other words, while it might not always feel like it, it’s often a good thing.
When you’re done, share credit—and say thank you.
There is no quicker way to exclude yourself from a group’s future collaborative endeavors than to claim all the credit and glory for yourself. It’s simply not a good look when you could instead be graciously acknowledging the contributions of your peers and bringing donuts.
Lastly, take a moment to reflect on what you learned and what you hope to improve going forward. Such lessons may come in handy the next time you’re called upon to collaborate.
Via DNA : Time to break silos and join hands at workplace
Only 13% of employees across organisations can work in teams without being interrupted (and complete projects on time), says an employee-focused research study.
Is this true? In an era when team sizes are shrinking and remote/flexi working is gaining in prominence, where does the aura attached towards working in teams now stand? Does it help to work individually, rather than in teams to minimise distractions and accelerate project deliveries?
“Not really,” say HR experts. According to Praveen Rawal, managing director, Steelcase India and Southeast Asia, the evolution from ‘I’ to ‘We’ at work is going to be more significant for achieving organisational goals in 2018.
Hamsaz Vasunia, Head HR, DCB Bank, says ‘teamwork’ is about how different teams come together to service the end customer. “Today, customers want the best solution in the shortest possible time. To make this happen, different individuals have to work seamlessly without letting the baton fall. In this digital world, where a new product has to be launched in the market before the competition, every employee has to work in sync to meet the deadline. For any project to be successful, people with different skill-sets are required to complement each other. They can support each other, energise one another and maximise the overall output.”
According to Thammaiah BN, managing director, Kelly Services India, working in a team creates healthy competition amongst employees and members are able to divide workloads and pressure amongst themselves. “Thus, every individual can be allocated with responsibilities based on their specialisation.”
But beyond the multiple advantages that teamwork brings in for the organisation and its employees, there do exist distractions that cause impediments in the pathway towards team achievements. Conflicts, ego and insecurities often exist within teams that hinder fruitful collaboration. Moreover, research at the University of California points out that once a distraction occurs, it can take as much as 23 minutes for the mind to return to the task at hand.
Vivek Prabhakar, co-founder of Chumbak, says that employees get distracted only when the team gets distracted, “and each person starts working in a different direction. If the team is focused, chances of distraction are minimal. High productivity is all about a combination of single-minded focus on individual tasks, as well as a lot of collaboration to ensure that all team members are on the same track.”
Although togetherness at work is vital for value creation, in excess, it’s a killer, says Rawal. He believes that there needs to be a process wherein workers come together as a group to develop a shared point of view, and then break apart to take the next steps. “This can be achieved through a provision of spaces. Collaboration has caused a privacy crisis, especially in Indian offices where real estate is a constraint,” says Rawal. Experts note that in many companies, there is a high emphasis on open spaces and not enough on private spaces. “In India, which has a collectivist culture, organisations need to optimize real estate more to provide visual, acoustical and territorial privacy options,” says Rawal.
Virtual Working and Teamwork
With teams being agile and employees working virtually, promoting team cohesiveness assumes even greater importance. According to Thammaiah, with video collaboration tools, opportunities for interaction with remote workers can be created. “Social events and team-building exercises will make employees feel part of a team and not isolated.”
To promote cohesiveness, experts say organisations should appreciate teamwork that has achieved common goals. Secondly, conflict resolution between employees by the organisation at the earliest is necessary to ensure productivity remains protected.
Deodutta Kurane, group president, human capital management, Yes Bank, says that building teams that deliver is a leadership responsibility. “A leader must focus on training team ( to collaborate), engaging (by conducting milestone reviews and realigning tasks basis group performance), attracting the right mix of skills and personalities, and motivating teams and developing a shared mindset amongst members. This ensures that teams remain committed to delivering quality in a timely manner.”
Furthermore, employees also have a role in being good team players. Vasunia says first and foremost, individuals should keep their ego in check. “They should respect each other’s views, be inclusive, participate in team events and personally interact more while emailing less.”
Via Shout Out UK : The Importance Of Teamwork In Business And Beyond
Teamwork can often fly under the radar but it’s one of the most worthwhile traits you can possess in your career and in life generally. When you’re able to work well with other people, you benefit in so many different ways. Realising the importance of teamwork will ultimately help you to advance your career, impress your employers and succeed in life, so what’s not to like?
Read on to learn even more about the importance of working in a team in business and beyond.
Exposure to New Ideas
When you work well with other people, you will not only collaborate, you’ll also learn from them and be exposed to new ideas that you might not have otherwise been exposed to. That’s a pretty big deal because you can never learn and grow in life unless you’re exposed to new ideas. This is something you should embrace and make the most of whenever the chance arises.
None of us in life are completely independent and solo; we all need the support of others to help us out when we’re struggling. That’s something that can apply to any tough times you might experience in the workplace, as well as tough times in your personal life. It’s not easy to get through those difficult things without support, but working with others provides you with a chance of mutual support.
Keeping Everyone On Your Side and On the Ball
If you’re willing to work closely with other people, you’ll also get to strengthen the bonds with the people around you at work and in life. You will then find it easier to keep people on your side and focus on what you need to be doing. In your place of work, this is particularly important because you don’t want fractious problems detracting from the good work you and your team should be doing.
Making the Most of Other People’s Talents for Your Own Ends
You can’t do everything by yourself and if you want your career to progress, you’re going to need the talents of other people in your team. Things like team building treasure hunts demonstrate the importance of using everyone’s skills in order to achieve a common goal. And this can then be transferred to the workplace where everyone combines their talents and abilities to help the business grow.
Efficiency is a priority in many workplaces these days, and it’s much easier to achieve optimum efficiency if you’re good at working with the people around you. Any friction or problems between you and the other people in your workplace will simply cause your tasks and overall output to slow down. For a truly efficient performance, you need to have everyone working together and pulling in the same direction.
If you want to succeed at everything you do in life, you need to understand the role teamwork can play in that success. Working well with others benefits you and everyone around you, so work on getting better at it.
via BQ : The Importance of Team-Building in the Workplace
Are you worried that your employees and management teams are failing to work well together, resulting in low morale in the workplace? Organising a team-building activity outside of the office could make for a great solution, resulting in productive, efficient, motivated and all-round happy staff members throughout your business.
In fact, here’s three reasons why you should consider making team-building a key part of your business plan:
1. It encourages team work
Almost three quarters (70 per cent) of respondents to a study set up by the University of Phoenix have stated that they feel they’re part of a dysfunctional team. Meanwhile, research by Gallup suggests that poorly managed work groups are on average 50 per cent less productive and 44 per cent less profitable.
Facts and figures like these underline the importance of getting teams to work together as much as possible. Team-building events will do this, as they teach participants about how working together will improve the efficiency of all members involved – for example, how one team member can help another one’s weakness.
2. It improves communication
A lack of collaboration or ineffective communication has been linked to 86 per cent of all workplace failures cited by employees and executives, a survey reported on by ClearCompany has revealed. A study by HerdWisdom also detailed that 33 per cent of employees believe a lack of open and honest communication will have the most negative impact on employee morale.
Effective communication is an important part of team-building events, as members of a group must talk and discuss options in order to solve a problem that they’ve encountered. Communicating in these scenarios could lead to barriers being broken — employees being shy to talk to each other for instance — which then carries through when staff members are back in the workplace.
3. It increases engagement
Did you know that employees who have a high engagement level are 87 per cent less likely to leave a company than those who have a low engagement level? That’s according to research reported on by Officevibe when they were looking into statistics related to disengaged employees.
Mark Jones, the managing director of conference centre and hotel venue Wyboston Lakes, was also keen to add: “Any organisation will benefit from an engaged workforce; employees that are committed, passionate and inspired by their performance will of course generate superior customer service and increased profitability.”
Team-building days are likely to boost engagement among colleagues, as they bond with each other while working together. Friendships could also develop during these events too, with research by Gallup claiming that having a close friend at work can increase engagement by 50 per cent.
via Huffington Post : Teamwork Is What Separates the Good From Great Companies
As a team and workplace specialist, I believe teams are at the heart of every successful organization. If you think about today’s workplace, everyone is working in some form of a team whether it’s a team of two or twenty. It could be a sales team, global team, admin team, engineering team, leadership team or project team. The bottom line is that an organization thrives when teamwork is at its best.
There are plenty of books on the topic about what makes a high performing team or how to get the most of team members. This isn’t rocket science and yet, many companies struggle with how to work collaboratively and effectively together. How often have you heard people talk about being part of a team but not “feeling” like a team?
Over the past twenty years working with thousands of diverse teams across various industries, led me to conclude that the best teamwork is a group of people working together for the greater good of the team – meaning, that each person is willing to forgo their own ego, and make decisions that are truly in the best interest of the team vs their own best interest. This requires a heightened awareness of self and others. Furthermore, the most successful teams – think Olympic teams, like the women’s soccer team or the World Series Baseball team, each player shows up playing at their absolute best, energized, engaged and fully committed to the team goal. To anchor this thought further, Phil Jackson, considered one of the greatest coaches in NBA history said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” That’s a powerful statement if you stop and think about what it means. When each person shows up using their strengths, are energized and genuinely collaborating as a team, they are naturally more productive, engaged and performing at their best. Conversely, when one person doesn’t show up and perform or is unwilling to put their own interests aside for the greater good, it negatively impacts the rest of the team. We’ve all experienced this at one time or another, and in fact, we’ve all been the person who isn’t performing. No one person can make the entire team great or successful over the long term, it’s the combined expertise and efforts of every team member that enables a team and company to thrive.
Jessica Gaines, Business Committee for the Arts Coordinator, Americans for the Arts, shared a great example of a company who takes teamwork to a whole other level. ShoreTel, a Sunnyvale, CA-based global telecommunications vendor, organized and hosted a Battle of the Bands for its employees. They put together the bands that competed, funded music lessons to ensure they were prepared to perform, and even provided music rooms where employees could rock out at the office. Needless to say, it was a huge hit, pun intended, and cleverly integrated a form of art into the teambuilding activity. That’s thinking way outside the box.
If you don’t want to go that far out of the box, then at the very least, be sure your team has a clear mission and goals that each team member buys into so that they have a vested interest in the overall success of the team. Also, inject some fun activities along the way to provide opportunities for team members to build trust and stronger working relationships which makes it easier to solve future challenges.
Effective teamwork is good for business. Stronger relationships between team members, greater job satisfaction, energized employees and a more engaged workforce are just a few of the benefits. The accumulation of good talent is what produces great team results. When team members meet their goals, everyone wins. I’ve seen this first-hand, when team members are having fun, more aware, leverage their strengths, and are laser-focused on team results, they ultimately create a continuous positive impact. This leads to a culture of high performance, greater well-being and happy customers inside and outside the organization.
Companies who value teamwork understand that their organizational success is tied to how well their team members work collaboratively to achieve the overall goals. Producing excellent results and delivering value to your customers is what energizes your company culture. So, what can you do to invigorate your team?
About the Author: Michelle Burke is a Communication, Workplace and Team Specialist, published Author, Consultant, and Speaker. She is CEO of The Energy Catalyst Group dedicated to creating more positive and energized workplaces by helping teams be more collaborative, engaged and achieve peak performance. Her years’ experience working with Fortune 100, 500 companies, established her as a leading expert in bridging communication, gender and cultural gaps. She consults with clients using her 3-A Model: Awareness, Accountability and (purposeful) Action to focus on increasing individual, team and organizational energy. Clients include Stanford University, Microsoft, Visa, Disney, Sony, Receptos, Lanza Hair Care, Genentech, HTC, and Sony PlayStation. Michelle authored, The Valuable Office Professional, was featured in Business Week’s Frontier Magazine, LA Times, SF Chronicle, and Wall Street Journal. Her articles have been in Training, HR, and Chief Learning Officer Magazines. She also co-created Personalogy™ game that made Amazon’s Top 100 Best Selling Card Games of 2015. Please connect with her Michelle@energycatalystgroup.com.